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June 4, 2019

【What is Flag Pole?  How to switch to a Work Permit or PR Status at a Land Border】

What is Flag Pole?

This is an option for those already in Canada without having to officially enter the United States. It allows these people to switch to a Work Permit or a PR Status at a designated land port of entry at the border.

Some people come to Canada as a visitor first and switch to obtain a Working Holiday Work Permit through Flagpole later on. 

The following people are eligible to apply for Flagpole:

• Already a holder of a valid Work/ Study Permit 

•  Presently staying in Canada as a visitor

Many applicants choose to apply in-person at a land port of entry at the border as the application takes a much shorter time to complete than if it were to be done through a in-land Canadian Immigration Bureau.  

Another option is to include simultaneously a trip to the U.S and change your status on making your return to Canada. 

~How to change your immigration status to be a Worker using Flag Pole~

  1. Once you’ve arrived at the border, state to the officer that you’re here to get a Work Permit and would like to do so using Flag Pole. 
    (Mention the purpose of your trip if you’re going to the U.S for leisure) 
  2. Follow the officer’s instructions. Once you get to the U.S side, you might get a paper to declare that you did not enter the U.S.

  3. Usually, you will not be required to exit your vehicle. However, in rare cases, you may be requested to go inside the building to have your fingerprint and photo taken.

  4. Return to Canada and mention to the officer once more that you’re here to get your Work Permit. 

  5. Follow instructions and in the Canadian office building, get your Work Permit. You may be asked a few questions (the questions will relate to a lot of what’s on your application, so don’t forget your application)
  6. Pay the required fees.  Follow the officer’s instructions to get your fingerprint taken. 

  7. Once you receive your Permit, please be sure to verify that there aren’t any discrepancies regarding your information.  Should there be any, request to have it corrected in person at the spot. This will save a lot of hassle than if you were to request to correct it later on. 

  8. Mark down (on your calendar) the expiry date of your Permit. 

Examples of border crossings in B.C that issues the Work Permit: 

BONDARY BAY (Point Roberts)

Applying for Flag Pole in Ontario- Additional things to keep in mind:

As of June 2017, border crossings Rainbow, Queenston-Lewiston and Peace Bridge will not be offering service for Flagpole on the following days.

  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday

Services for Flagpole will be offered on the following days. During peak hours on these days, you may be asked to come back on a different day. 

  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

As questions asked by and leniency of Immigration Officers at the border will vary, those less comfortable are suggested to apply through an in-land Immigration Office instead, even if the application may require more time to complete. 

Resources on IRCC website:

How do I validate a Confirmation of PR if I live in Canada?

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

You will be assisted in obtaining your visas or permit by an Experienced Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant.

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